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Carcharhinus dussumieri

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA CHONDRICHTHYES CARCHARHINIFORMES CARCHARHINIDAE

Scientific Name: Carcharhinus dussumieri
Species Authority: (Müller & Henle, 1839)
Common Name(s):
English Whitecheek Shark, Widemouth Blackspot Shark

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2003
Date Assessed: 2003-04-30
Annotations:
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Bennett, M.B. & Kyne, P.M. (SSG Australia & Oceania Regional Workshop, March 2003)
Reviewer(s): Fowler, S. & Cavanagh, R.D. (Shark Red List Authority)
Justification:
Carcharhinus dussumieri has a wide tropical Indo-West Pacific distribution in coastal waters down to 170 m, and locally is one of the most common whaler sharks of northern Australia. This small species of shark is particularly susceptible to inshore fisheries, being caught commonly as bycatch in commercial trawling, artisanal fishing, hook-and-line fishing and gillnetting throughout its range. It has a low reproductive capacity, with a normal litter size of two, making it vulnerable to over-exploitation. It also enters the shark fin trade. Globally, this species fails to qualify for Vulnerable (VU A2acd), as while declines have been observed throughout part of its range, quantitative data are not available. In Australia this species is classified as Least Concern, as regional fishing pressure appears sustainable. However, continued fishing pressures throughout its range will result in further declines and populations require monitoring.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Widespread in coastal waters down to about 170 m depth eastwards from the Arabian Gulf to Taiwan and Japan. Possibly occurs throughout much of Indonesia, but only documented from around Java, Bali, Borneo and eastern Sumatra at this time (Last and Stevens 1994).
Countries:
Native:
Australia (Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia); Bahrain; Bangladesh; Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; China; India; Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Japan; Kuwait; Malaysia; Myanmar; Oman; Pakistan; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Singapore; Sri Lanka; Taiwan, Province of China; Thailand; United Arab Emirates; Viet Nam
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Indian Ocean – western; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Inshore populations in much of the species' range have declined dramatically, with localised extirpations (L.J.V. Compagno, pers. comm). There is a relatively large population in northern Australia at this time, based on its continued appearance in trawl fisheries and gill-net fisheries as a major component of the bycatch.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is sometime confused with Carcharhinus sealei. It is a small species with a maximum reported length of 100 cm total length (TL), although specimens of up to about 90 cm TL are more common (Stevens and McLoughlin 1991). Males mature at about 64 to 74 cm TL; females at about 67 to 71 cm TL (Garrick 1982, Stevens and McLoughlin 1991). There are no data on the age at maturity or longevity of this species. The usual litter size is two, rarely four, with young born at about 40 cm TL. There does not appear to be a distinct seasonal reproductive cycle, with pregnant females recorded at all times of year. As almost all mature females are reported to be pregnant or spent at any one time, there appears to be a continuous reproductive cycle. There are no data on the gestation period, and it seems likely that, on average, only two offspring will be produced annually. Carcharhinus dussumieri feeds primarily on teleost fishes, with crustaceans and cephalopods of slightly lesser importance (Simpfendorfer and Milward 1993, Salini et al.r 1994). Other minor prey groups include molluscs, annelids and brachyurans (Salini et al. 1994).
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The major threat to this species is from fisheries in relatively shallow shelf and inshore waters throughout the whole of its range. As a small shark (40-90 cm TL) it is caught by gillnetting, hook-and-line fishing and trawling. In northern Australia it commonly comprises about 2-3% of trawl catch by biomass (Russell and Houston 1989). While the population in Northern Australia appears fairly robust, there is evidence of severe depletions, including local extirpations, of this species in coastal waters throughout parts of its range in Asia (L.J.V. Compagno, pers. comm.).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The life history characteristics of this species, together with its small size, make local populations particularly sensitive to fishing-induced declines. It is caught by all commonly used fishing techniques (mainly as bycatch), making it difficult to conserve without recourse to "no-fishing zones". The size of closed areas that would be needed to conserve this species is not known. Data need be collected on movement patterns of individuals (e.g., seasonal, reproductive migrations, diurnal movements) to assess the viability of such an approach.

Citation: Bennett, M.B. & Kyne, P.M. (SSG Australia & Oceania Regional Workshop, March 2003) 2003. Carcharhinus dussumieri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 November 2014.
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